Comparison is one of those words that are often thrown around casually. However, it is one of the major causes of mental and physical stress in most people in recent times. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes comparison on just the right level could be a motivating factor to becoming better, but an unhealthy comparison is what you should watch out for. Unhealthy comparison leads to unnecessary bitterness, jealousy and hatred, all of which contributes significantly to mental stress and low self-esteem.
Achieving a balance between healthy and unhealthy comparison could be difficult. Neuropsychologists proved that human minds tend to lean towards the negative aspect of things which in this instance would be the unhealthy comparison. They call it Brain Negativity Bias.
A healthy comparison could:
- Challenge you do to better because if someone can do, there is a chance that you can also. However, if that is not where your strength lies, know when to move to areas you feel more comfortable with.
- Give you someone to look up to, like a role model or a coach who could put you through
- Motivate you to think bigger, especially if you are driven and not complacent with having things turn out averagely-well.
Unhealthy comparison on the other hand could:
- Mount unnecessary stress on you
- Damage your self-esteem
- Make you a bitter person and make you feel insignificant and low
- Push you into making a wrong decision.
“She is more beautiful than I am”, “He is making more money”, “Things are too easy for him”, “All my friends are married except me”, it is perfectly okay to have this thought, after all, we are human. But, knowing when to put a full stop to obsessive comparison will help you live a long and happy life.
An article was posted on this blog page a few months ago about being the second-best. Knowing your strength, what you are good at and channelling all the right energy to it might just be the very thing that closes the gap between you and the person you think is doing so much better than you.
How to save your mind form comparison
- BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Pat yourself for the little wins. Understand that you are different from that friend, family member or associate. There is no timeline to achieving greatness (except you are a 40 years old man who wants to be a pro basketballer. That ship has sailed a long time ago). Accept the process and slowly climb. When you see yourself falling down the rabbit hole of self-pity, “my life sucks!” this life is messed up” stop and crawl out of it. Life will not change itself for your sake. You owe it to yourself to change what you can.
- Have a dream, a plan and a goal. “Everybody is migrating to Canada, so that is my next plan” …. “No, not Canada again. I think I should go into web design, my friend is a web designer and he is rich”. While thinking this way might not be a bad thing, it could turn you into a leaf gliding in the wind without a direction. And when you see that jumping around isn’t exactly helping you achieve anything, you become frustrated with yourself. Having a set goal and target will save your mind from wandering when comparison sets in. Your thoughts will no longer be like the above, it will sound something like this, “Wow, my friend is doing very well in the entertainment world. I would love to try that too but no. I am sure what I am working on will also grow into something bigger than myself later”. This will save you from hopping about because of comparison.
- Learn to face front! Sometimes you see what you are not supposed to see while searching for what you don’t know. Be focused and unwavering. It is easy to see the shell outside, the part of ourselves we present to people but the truth, is everybody has their demons to battle. Social media is the haunted house to easily fall into this kind of trap. Learn not to be distracted by the outer shell you see other people present.
Comparison could do you more good than harm if you channel it correctly, but if you can’t, try your best to stay away from it totally to avoid undue stress. Life is good and it can get even better for you if you learn to walk within your time.